Writer who likes to work and play at The People’s Theatre

In September, The People’s Theatre is bringing a play by one of its own to its Studio stage. And its writer, Alison Carr is perfectly placed to keep an eye on how ticket sales are going.

Alison Carr's Iris is coming to the People's Theatre in Heaton, Newcastle

Alison Carr’s Iris is coming to the People’s Theatre in Heaton, Newcastle

Next month my play Iris is being staged at the People’s Theatre in Heaton. And chances are, if you ring up to buy a ticket or book online – the person answering the phone or processing your booking is me.

And that’s not an extra special service I’m offering as a very committed playwright, it’s because I work in the Box Office at the People’s.

A writer (or any artist) having another job is seen by some as something to be ashamed of. And for a long time I worried it meant that I wasn’t talented or successful enough to earn my whole living from my writing.

Playwright Alison Carr

Playwright Alison Carr is happy to have a day job – especially one which keeps her in the theatre

But recently the industry has started opening up and there’s an honesty breaking through which is so heartening and, frankly, a relief. It’s knackering pretending all the time.

So yeah, my name’s Alison and I have another job.

I work part-time in a box office, a job that helps me be a writer and a better writer at that.

One, it gives my day structure – I can’t lie about in my pyjamas all day, which I think I could very easily fall in to cos pyjamas are lush. But not all day every day.

It means I have a regular income. I don’t have a huge black cloud of stress hanging over me about how to pay my bills. Maybe that might motivate some, but I have motivation enough thanks.

And it keeps me in touch with reality, not cossetted away in some freezing garret with only the characters in my head for company.

And not for nothing, I enjoy it. My employers are very accommodating and supportive and to add to their awesomeness, they’re staging one of my plays in their upcoming season!

Alison Carr's Iris is coming to the People's Theatre in Heaton, Newcastle

Emma Weetch (top) and Sarah Mulgrew play Julie and Ruby in Alison Carr’s Iris

The production in the People’s Theatre new Studio next month sees Iris return to the North East after its premiere at Live Theatre in 2016. I was very involved there through the whole process, but for this one it’s hands-off. Like a proud parent waving her child off, I have to let the play stand on its own two feet.

And, honestly, I don’t want to be involved. I started writing Iris maybe five years ago. It was a culmination of all of the ideas I had been interested in exploring and developing in the 10 years since I’d written my first play. It’s about sisters and grief, about seeing and being seen, about love and legacy. It’s a play I am immensely proud of, but it would feel odd going back to it. It’s not mine anymore.

And, equally importantly, they don’t need me. Director Sarah Davison, the cast and production team know what they’re doing and are doing it.

Iris has a special place in my heart as does the People’s, so it’s the perfect coming together really.

And anytime someone books a ticket, I get a little thrill. So head to the website and make my day 😉

Iris by Alison Carr is at The People’s Theatre, from September 10 to 14. Tickets are £14 and £11.50 for concessions.


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